GLENS FALLS — Not only does the sign at the entrance to Cool Insuring Arena now say “Bill Dineen Way,” it says it in the red and white of the Adirondack Red Wings.
“It’s pretty amazing, especially the location of it,” Dineen’s son, Gord, said after the Thursday morning ceremony attended by family and friends. “It’s right in front of the arena where my father spent a lot of hours, not only coaching in front of the fans, but also down in the bowels of the arena, doing what he loved to do — coaching.”
Dineen, who died Dec. 10, coached the Adirondack Red Wings from 1983 to 1989 when the arena was called the Glens Falls Civic Center.
He was the American Hockey League coach of the year twice and guided Adirondack to two Calder Cup championships.
“This was always an incredibly special place for him,” said Kevin Dineen, an assistant coach with the Chicago Blackhawks, noting his father chose the region as a place to settle his family. “He always loved it up here.”
His sons — Gord, Kevin, Jerry, Shawn and Peter — all became hockey players, scouts or coaches, and Gord, Peter and Kevin were at Thursday’s ceremony.
“This is a great tribute to my dad,” said Peter Dineen. “He always held Glens Falls and Glen Lake in high regard. He gave us opportunities for his children and grandkids.”
Dineen began his playing career with the Detroit Red Wings, playing in the NHL from 1953 through 1958, and his overall career stretched over two decades. He was a teammate of Gordie Howe, and that began a long relationship.
Years later, when Dineen was honored at the Civic Center, Howe flew in to be a part of it. Dineen coached in the World Hockey Association, leading teams with Howe and Howe’s two sons.
In Glens Falls, Dineen led Adirondack to a 246-182-52 record in 480 games and Calder Cup championships in 1986 and 1989.
“He left us some pretty tough shoes to fill,” Kevin Dineen said. “We spent a lot of time in this building, including hockey camps during the summer. This is a great moment for my dad.”
Gord Dineen said there was something else that was important to his father.
“It was the people,” he said. “We met so many great people here, and they always remembered him.”
Added Kevin Dineen, who lives on Glen Lake, “We are very happy we settled here.”